1: The sum of this chapter is, Christ, as appears from his type, Melchisedec, who was greater than Abraham himself, from whom Levi descended, has a priesthood altogether excellent, new, firm, perpetual.(Ge 14:18), &c.
2: Being first - According to the meaning of his own name. King of righteousness, then - According to the name of his city. King of peace - So in him, as in Christ, righteousness and peace were joined. And so they are in all that believe in him.
3: Without father, without mother, without pedigree - Recorded, without any account of his descent from any ancestors of the priestly order. Having neither beginning of days, nor end of life - Mentioned by Moses. But being - In all these respects. Made like the Son of God - Who is really without father, as to his human nature; without mother, as to his divine; and in this also, without pedigree - Neither descended from any ancestors of the priestly order. Remaineth a priest continually - Nothing is recorded of the death or successor of Melchisedec. But Christ alone does really remain without death, and without successor.
4: The greatness of Melchisedec is described in all the preceding and following particulars. But the most manifest proof of it was, that Abraham gave him tithes as to a priest of God and a superior; though he was himself a patriarch, greater than a king, and a progenitor of many kings.
5: The sons of Levi take tithes of their brethren - Sprung from Abraham as well as themselves. The Levites therefore are greater than they; but the priests are greater than the Levites, the patriarch Abraham than the priests, and Melchisedec than him.
6: He who is not from them - The Levites Blessed - Another proof of his superiority. Even him that had the promises - That was so highly favoured of God. When St. Paul speaks of Christ, he says, "the promise;" promises refer to other blessings also.
7: The less is blessed - Authoritatively, of the greater.
8: And here - In the Levitical priesthood. But there - In the case of Melchisedec. He of whom it is testified that he liveth - Who is not spoken of as one that died for another to succeed him; but is represented only as living, no mention being made either of his birth or death.
9: And even Levi, who received tithes - Not in person, but in his successors, as it were, paid tithes - In the person of Abraham.
11: The apostle now demonstrates that the Levitical priesthood must yield to the priesthood of Christ, because Melchisedec, after whose order he is a priest,
12: For - One of these cannot be changed without the other.
13: But the priesthood is manifestly changed from one order to another, and from one tribe to another. For he of whom these things are spoken - Namely, Jesus. Pertaineth to another tribe - That of Judah. Of which no man was suffered by the law to attend on, or minister at, the altar.
14: For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah - Whatever difficulties have arisen since, during so long a tract of time, it was then clear beyond dispute.
15: And it is still far more evident, that - Both the priesthood and the law are changed, because the priest now raised up is not only of another tribe, but of a quite different order.
16: Who is made - A priest. Not after the law of a carnal commandment - Not according to the Mosaic law, which consisted chiefly of commandments that were carnal, compared to the spirituality of the gospel. But after the power of an endless life - Which he has in himself, as the eternal Son of God.
18: For there is implied in this new and everlasting priesthood, and in the new dispensation connected therewith, a disannulling of the preceding commandment - An abrogation of the Mosaic law. For the weakness and unprofitableness thereof - For its insufficiency either to justify or to sanctify.
19: For the law - Taken by itself, separate from the gospel. Made nothing perfect - Could not perfect its votaries, either in faith or love, in happiness or holiness. But the bringing in of a better hope - Of the gospel dispensation, which gives us a better ground of confidence, does. By which we draw nigh to God - Yea, so nigh as to be one spirit with him. And this is true perfection.
20: And - The greater solemnity wherewith he was made priest, farther proves the superior excellency of his priesthood.
21: The Lord sware and will not repent - Hence also it appears, that his is an unchangeable priesthood.
22: Of so much better a covenant - Unchangeable, eternal. Was Jesus made a surety - Or mediator. The word covenant frequently occurs in the remaining part of this epistle. The original word means either a covenant or a last will and testament. St. Paul takes it sometimes in the former, sometimes in the latter, sense; sometimes he includes both.
23: They were many priests - One after another.
24: He continueth for ever - In life and in his priesthood. That passeth not away - To any successor.
25: Wherefore he is able to save to the uttermost - From all the guilt, power, root, and consequence of sin. Them who come - By faith. To God through him - As their priest. Seeing he ever liveth to make intercession - That is, he ever lives and intercedes. He died once; he intercedes perpetually.
26: For such an high priest suited us - Unholy, mischievous, defiled sinners: a blessed paradox! Holy - With respect to God. Harmless - With respect to men. Undefiled - With any sin in himself. Separated from sinners - As well as free from sin. And so he was when he left the world. And made - Even in his human nature. Higher than the heavens - And all their inhabitants.
27: Who needeth not to offer up sacrifices daily - That is, on every yearly day of expiation; for he offered once for all: not for his own sins, for he then offered up himself "without spot to God."
28: The law maketh men high priests that have infirmity - That are both weak, mortal, and sinful. But the oath which was since the law - Namely, in the time of David. Maketh the son, who is consecrated for ever - Who being now free, both from sin and death, from natural and moral infirmity, remaineth a priest for ever.
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